Tag Archives: Relationships

On Saskia, written in early January 2017

Her right foot isn’t quite right. Not left, just not right enough.

The midwife told us she’s seen some feet come out backwards though, which made us feel better.

She also has twin constellations, crimson-coloured. One on her crown and the other on nape of her neck, just above the hairline. Apparently they fix themselves too. Which is neat.

Her umbilical cord, having pulsed its last, was clamped with a little plastic thing that reminded me of putting out the washing. The weird stubby, well, stub (which I remember from the kittens born in the hot-water cupboard) healed quicker than my last google search said it might. Which, again, was worrisome (for some reason).

Now the baby bullet hole is weeping a little and I’m too scared to touch it. Not even with a wet cotton ball. And actually the midwife said to me on our last visit “Oh, you’re the dad who couldn’t look while I opened it up!” Yes that was me.

We are more or less resolved to an outie — but it could still go either way.

What can I say, it’s as new to us as it is to Saskia — only we have stretchier, more exercised imaginations at this point so can more readily envision the infinite ways for fate to fuck us up. She can see shadows too of course, but only ones about 10cm from her face.

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On Reading Rimbaud, The Little Asshole

Is it possible to make one’s face so lifeless that it becomes invisible?
I think it might be. I know it
In fact, it’s as easy as an icebreaker through three-foot thick drifts
I’ll practice it, become a famed magician, conjuring horizons and bending light round my body
What time I’ll buy, a non-person, a no-one
Free as an asteroid out of orbit, tracing a silent arc through the endless dark
Only to reappear at will, saving face, playing the percentages
I’ll be a rich man, rich and redundant
The world getting along just fine without knowing my step
Energy distilled into a direct beam
Hot enough to melt sand and make a mirror in which my reflection is seen only by me
Self-sustaining, vampiric, in unholy, solitary, unfettered happiness

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After Melbourne’s Coldest Weekend

This dark chill is theft—daylight robbery
The sun roped up in the back of the van
Our good humours gone with it

To a human we’re phlegmatic, melancholy
And no draft is too crafty
No teeth or bones too still

They say it’s a vortex that’ll last the week
And eBay is selling out of finger-less leather gloves
But we’ll get up anyway

And at night, well, we probably won’t think of those in bed alone
But we should
God knows it was me once

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The One Year Itch

Big dreams at stake as we fashion the bed that we’ll lie in
Thoughts turn to aspirations, to motivation, to what ifs and whens
Of each breath and each crooked step in the right, or wrong, direction

We could turn back the clock, reinvent the wheel
Catch hold of the chugging steam engine
Maybe that would make the task a little simpler
Achievable aims, realistic deadlines and all that

The February heat is as oppressive as the decisions ahead
Though it’s worth stepping into the flaxen sandals of others
Whose choice has been curtailed by mismanagement
By God and the greedy people who pour pig sauce on their trotters

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Bomb Disposal

I couldn’t remember when we’d stopped shutting the door to the toilet in the mornings. 

A trickle of apologies carry into the bedroom, but they’re nonsense because my head’s stuck in the sheets. A defensive “You know how I get!” is all that cuts through.

“Yeah, and how you are,” my tone steady, the volume low.


“Can you close the door!?”

“Oops! Sorry!”


I hear the flush, then more running water.

“Come on babe, don’t be mad,” she stands sheepishly at the room’s threshold, picking at the lint on her top and rubbing it absently into a ball between her fingers.

Her legs are bare, with just a hint of stubble. Her knees knocking.

The cute card.

“Well, say something.”

“OK. You’re impossible.”

“You could try harder,” lifting her head. The proud Taurus seeing how standing her ground would fly.

“What,” my blood fizzing, “so it’s MY fault?”

The room’s pretty stuffy already, and all my sighing’s not helping.

“Well, you know, if there’s a fire… you don’t throw petrol on it,” comes the sensible yet insensible reply.

I look hard at the ceiling.

“I can hardly smother it can I…

Man, this always happens. How come I’m responsible for how you act? How come I get to be the bad-guy?”

I’m pissed, but still I feel petty, like maybe I’m forcing myself to keep angry on principal. Or habit. I don’t want to lecture her, I’m not her dad.

This isn’t romantic.

A soft “I know,” comes with that hopeful, searching look that maybe the cut’s not that deep. That the water’s passing under the bridge.

She studies her toes.

Gah! She’s so disarming, like a bomb disposal expert. Makes sense, seeing as though she’s built so many.

I tighten my lips to suppress the smile that’s coming, despite myself – ignoring the fact that these scars are definitely adding up.

“You’re crazy.”

She jumps on me in a heartbeat, sprawled on the bed and buoyant.

“But you love me,” giggling like a brook, her hands crawling up the duvet and tickling my chest underneath.

It was something I couldn’t have admitted to ten minutes ago, but “yeah, I guess I do” is the reply.

For that, I get a kiss on the forehead, right between my eyebrows.

Throwing back the blankets I stand and open the window to let some fresh air in.

Mostly won-over, part of me still wants to ask why the sweetness always follows the sour but it doesn’t seem fair anymore, and kind of pointless.

Maybe I’ll ask her next time.



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All can’t be well that ends well
If never the twain shall meet

Is the bugle calling shell shock?
…falls on deaf ears

We’re mostly there aren’t we
In the high percentiles in fact
You the mandrake man-eater, sort of like a flame
Me, easy as an apple , and air

But behind the fairground swings the carnies are making for the woodline
Like animals fleeing before a fire comes

Even so, we’ve got all those tokens stuffed in my jeans
What the hell, let’s go round one more time

Don’t be shy, pass the coconut

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